Kylian Mbappe had a brilliant response when asked if Cristiano Ronaldo is on the decline – he simply laughed at the question.
Last season Los Blancos won both the Champions League and La Liga, with Ronaldo netting 42 goals in 46 games in all competitions.
This season he has been far less prolific, and has netted just 20 in 27 games.
Real Madrid have also been struggling, and are currently fourth in La Liga, a staggering 19 points behind leaders Barcelona at the top of the log, with their chances of defending their La Liga title all but over.
Zidane’s men have been knocked out of Copa Del Rey and only have the Champions League to save their dreadful season.
They are in the round of 16 of the Champions League however, and will take on Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain side on Valentine’s Day.
Speaking about the fixture, and whether PSG still consider Ronaldo to be the threat he once was ahead of the tie, Mbappe was recently asked if he thinks the Portuguese is in his twilight years.
He replied, as reported by Goal: “Ronaldo is not on the decline. If he is on the decline, there are many more players on the decline then.
“He is a great player. But we hope he will remain quiet against us.
“We will prepare for the game by paying attention to all their strengths. And he is one of their strengths in the team.”
Madrid’s stuttering form this season perhaps has the runaway Ligue 1 leaders as favourites for the tie, which will see Mbappe take on a club he has revealed he came close to joining before sealing a move – initially on a season-long loan – to PSG.
But the presence of Ballon d’Or holder Ronaldo will keep Madrid interested, as well as providing motivation for Mbappe to shine in the knockout stages once again after his starring role for Monaco last term.
“He is a hero from my childhood and it was amazing to meet him when I visited Valdebebas,” Mbappe told Marca of Ronaldo in December.
“But I am a competitor and a person who is very competitive and all I want to do is win, win, win. So it doesn’t really matter who is in front of us, we want to win.
“I admired him when I was younger, but that ended. Now I go to the Bernabeu to play and to win.
“You learn from them, of course. From someone who has won five Ballons d’Or you can learn a lot.
“He’s a great player, but I have those here too.
“Neymar is here and I think he is very similar and is at practically the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo. I learn from [Edinson] Cavani as a goalscorer too.”
Asked to name a homegrown icon from his childhood, Mbappe was quick to praise the man that will be in the opposition dugout.
“Well, I had Zidane. But everyone in France loved Zidane,” he added.
“Anyone who likes football knows that he is a special case. What he is doing with Real Madrid since he became a coach is incredible, because I know that in that club it’s not easy.
“He’s taken a lot of pressure, maybe because he knows the club very well from his time as a player. He won the respect of everyone and I’m pleased for Zidane, for everything he’s achieved.”